Monday, July 12, 2010

SOUNDERS FC: Winless streak against MLS West continues

Everything seemed to be going their way. Up 1-0 versus FC Dallas early in the second half, if the Sounders could play smart soccer and maybe even pad the score a little, they were on their way to earning the team’s first victory against a Western Conference opponent in 2010.

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Rookie Michael Seamon was excited to earn his first career MLS start and took advantage in the 14th minute. A pass to James Riley on the right wing produced a laser-guided cross to Fredy Montero who easily headed the ball past Kevin Hartman from 10 yards out. For the next 46 minutes, Seattle looked like a team ready for a turnaround.

Leo Gonzalez showed impressive talent and poise as he anchored the defensive line and stopped or stole the ball nearly every time he touched it. In only six starts Jeff Parke has established himself as a leader for an injury plagued defense and contributed several key blocks in one-on-one situations. Even the rookies lent a hand in what seemed like a team with the skill and confidence to resuscitate a dying season.

Eleven minutes into the second half, everything came to a crashing halt when Dallas midfielder Brek Shea and Miguel Montaño collided and tangled as they fell to the ground battling for possession. Montaño explained after the match that his intent was not malicious.

"I was falling down. My intention was not to hit him. It was the motion of my body. If I made contact it was not my intention."

Referee Kevin Stott, who must have watched the World Cup final earlier in the day, issued Shea a yellow card for a reckless tackle, but not before flashing Montaño a straight red card for violent conduct. Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller expressed frustration about Montaño’s ejection and discussed the call with the Stott after the game.

“I even asked the ref after the game, 'Did that really need to be a red card? Was it that violent? [...] It wasn't that big of a deal. Nobody got punched. It was just a couple guys, a little fracas, yellow cards and call it even.”

For the next thirty minutes Seattle, with a starting roster averaging just 23 years of age, was able to hold off Dallas and even made a few more attempts to cushion their lead before conceding the tying goal in the 87th minute to David Ferreira.

Head Coach Sigi Schmid attributed the goal to fatigue and attrition, saying that his team deserved the win because of the heart and desire his team displayed. Defender James Riley summed things up pretty well.

"We have got fourteen games left. We have to set the tone. We don't really want to sit back anymore. We kind of want to set the precedent and win battles early in the game so we can get chances that way. I thought we did that today. We were fortunate enough to get a goal early. Unlucky not to get the result."

Unofficial box score:

Scoring Summary:
SEA -- Fredy Montero 6 (James Riley 2, Mike Seamon 1) 14'
DAL -- David Ferreira 4 (Heath Pearce 4) 87'

FC Dallas -- Kevin Hartman, George John, Ugo Ihemelu, Jair Benitez (Zach Loyd 80'), Daniel Hernandez, Dax McCarty, Marvin Chavez (Jeff Cunningham 64'), Heath Pearce, Brek Shea, David Ferreira, Atiba Harris.

Substitutes Not Used: Anthony Wallace, Kyle Davies, Eric Alexander, Jason Yeisley, Josh Lambo.

TOTAL SHOTS: 17 (Atiba Harris 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (David Ferreira 2); FOULS: 16 (Marvin Chavez 3); OFFSIDES: 1 (Atiba Harris 1); CORNER KICKS: 8 (David Ferreira 5); SAVES: 3 (Kevin Hartman 3)

Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez, Miguel Montaño, Mike Seamon (Osvaldo Alonso 70'), Nathan Sturgis, Steve Zakuani (Sanna Nyassi 62'), Nate Jaqua (Roger Levesque 78'), Fredy Montero.

Substitutes Not Used: Tyrone Marshall, Pat Noonan, Zach Scott, Terry Boss.

TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (Fredy Montero 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Fredy Montero 2); FOULS: 12 (Leo Gonzalez 3); OFFSIDES: 5 (Fredy Montero 3); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Nathan Sturgis 2); SAVES: 4 (Kasey Keller 4)

Reach Galen Helmgren at